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Talking Points for SoHo/NoHo Upzoning Public Hearings

With the first public hearings coming up on June 23rd for the city’s proposed SoHo/NoHo Upzoning, and more to come throughout the summer and fall, we thought we’d offer some talking points to use for testimony and other places to explain why the plan is so terrible and wrong: 

  • It’s a giant giveaway to developers, many of whom are De Blasio donors who lobbied relentlessly for this. 
  • It would allow development up to 2 1/2 times the size current rules allow.
  • The City says it will result in 3.8 mil sq ft of new development, but would actually allow well over 10 mil sq ft of new development in rezoning area, or nearly four Empire State Buildings, most of which is unaccounted for in their environmental analysis. 
  • It will incentivize the demolition of many of the 600+ units of rent regulated and loft law affordable housing, which are disproportionately occupied by lower income and Asian American residents, and disproportionately located in the areas with the greatest proposed upzonings which create the greatest incentives for demolition.  
  • It will likely add pressure for “secondary displacement” of thousands more residents of rent regulated affordable units in the immediately surrounding area, which are even more disproportionately Asian American and lower income  
  • The plan is likely to result in little or no new affordable housing due to multiple loopholes which have no affordable housing requirements — office, hotel, or other commercial space, retail space, and any community facility space for institutions like NYU, as well as luxury condo space of 25K sq ft or less per zoning lot are all EXEMPTED
  • The plan allows developers to build as much or more market-rate space WITHOUT affordable housing as they can if they do include affordable housing, on EVERY site where the City says affordable housing will be built, thus making affordable housing construction highly unlikely and INCENTIVIZING building without it. 
  • Even if new developments are built as the City predicts with 70-75% luxury condos and 25-30% “affordable housing,” these developments will overall actually be more expensive, and house wealthier and less diverse residents, than the current neighborhood overall, making for a less equitable, less affordable neighborhood. 
  • The plan would allow unlimited NYU expansion into area, violating NYU 2031 expansion plan agreements which were supposed to limit the university’s expansion. 
  • The plan would allow new construction which is more than two and a half times the size of the average existing building in the neighborhood. 
  • The plan would encourage the demolition of historic buildings recognized as city, state, and national landmarks. 
  • The plan is opposed by leading citywide and statewide housing and tenant groups, city, state, and national preservation organizations, and Chinatown groups. 
  • It would help push out longtime artist residents of neighborhood as well as arts groups and businesses 
  • It would allow the proliferation of huge big box chain stores as well as bars, pushing out longtime smaller independent businesses and destroying quality of life. 
  • Three things which residents and community groups consistently said during the “public engagement” process they did not want in any plan for the neighborhood — Upzoning, Big Box Chain Stores, and allowance for NYU Expansion — are the cornerstones of this plan 
  • Over a dozen community and tenant groups have offered a community alternative rezoning plan which would allow construction of true, more deeply and broadly affordable housing, without tenant displacement, out-of-scale development, and without big box chain stores forcing out local businesses. 

Urge those with a vote on this plan to vote NO, and urge community, civic, housing, social justice, tenant, and preservation groups to join in opposing it. 

More information can be found at:

 https://media.villagepreservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/14222415/Report-Many-Ways-de-Blasios-SoHo-NoHo-Plan.pdf

https://media.villagepreservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/14230337/Upzoning-SoHo-NoHo-Report-March-2021.pdf

https://media.villagepreservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/14223752/SoHo-NoHo-revised-Community-Alternative-Zoning-Plan.pdf

and https://nypost.com/2020/10/16/real-estate-firm-with-de-blasio-ties-expected-to-profit-from-rezoning/

https://www.villagepreservation.org/campaign/upzoning-soho-and-noho

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